Weekly Update: 089

by mohingamatters

Hi folks, here’s the summary of another weekly highlight. As the armed resistance has gotten stronger, the regime seems to be trying many plots to hinder it, ranging from testing chemical weapons to stirring racial conflicts in Shan-north. Regardless, it only means the armed resistance is on the right track. As victory is no longer a forbidden topic, the calls for dialogue have also risen from diverse sources. Read all about it in our highlights:

Internal Politics

  • Protesters gathered in Yangon despite tight security

On November 25, anti-regime forces in Yangon and the strike committee quickly staged a protest in a market in Yangon’s North Dagon Township. Ko Nan Lin, one of the student activists and protest leaders, gave a speech to the public, explaining the current situation of the Spring Revolution to the public. He emphasized that Min Aung Hlaing’s army is losing because the public has not given up on the resistance even though things are getting tougher. He also asked soldiers to defect from the military if they wish to stand for the public, but not the military generals. The public in the market showed support to the protesters by clapping and showing three-finger salutes. Soon after the protesters dispersed, military soldiers entered the market,  searched for Ko Nan Lin, raided the shops and interrogated the civilians. 

  • The regime backed Anti-China protests in Yangon and Naypyidaw

On November 17, the regime’s spokesperson General Zaw Min Tun said that Operation 1027 by the Three Brotherhood Alliance received support from “a certain foreign country” without specifying the name. On the news reports of the state-controlled media outlets on November 20, General Zaw Min Tun was quoted for describing the operation as “Invasion of the Invaders”. On November 16 and 19, the pro-military supporters were seen protesting in front of the Chinese Embassy in Yangon and called to stop supporting the armed groups in Northern Shan State, orchestrating the anti-China sentiment brazenly. This change of heart from the regime came after the Chinese government had arrested former parliamentarians from the USDP, the military’s proxy party, and leading figures from Kokang’s militia group and Border Guard Force that follow the orders of the military regime for the online fraud scam groups. Myanmar Now reported that the same individuals who led protests in front of the US Embassy to spread anti-Rohingya sentiment were used in this month’s anti-China protests. U Pyinnya Wun Tha, one of the pro-regime monks, said in the protest, “We, the people know, that China sells weapons to three brothers in the North and the PDFs. We know that you sell weapons to these people to destroy our country”. Naung Taw Lay, editor of the military-backed news outlet Myanmar National Post, also led a similar protest in Naypyidaw. He said, “Uncle China, please don’t disrupt peace and stability in Myanmar”. Myanmar Now reported that, in 2017, Naung Taw Lay protested against the Rohingya and OIC in front of the US Embassy. 

  • MNDAA received generous donation for Operation 1027

MNDAA announced that it had received MMK 5000 lakh as donation from General Strike Coordination Body (GSCB), CDM Medical Network, Medical Family Mandalay, Yangon Medical Network, Chindwin Medical and Humanitarian Network in Chin Shwe Haw. The ethnic armed group said that Operation 1027 has a broader aim of equality for all ethnic groups, eradicating the military regime, to crack down the online fraud game and to rescue Chinese people from these scams, and said that it is a “just war”. The MNDAA also said that receiving support from these five organizations can also be perceived that the Bamar public has shown support to their group and their clashes. Brigadier General U Kyin Shin ensured that, with support from the people, it dedicated itself to fighting against the Myanmar military which is the common enemy of the pro-democracy groups. The donations will be used to provide humanitarian aid to civilians, and injured soldiers. 

International Affairs

  • Indonesia’s “positive talk” caused a stir in Myanmar’s politics 

Indonesia, as the chair of ASEAN this year, announced that it hosted positive talks with main actors of the Myanmar conflict between November 20-22 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The announcement made by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the relevant stakeholders included pro-democracy groups, armed groups belonging to ethnic minorities, and “interlocutors” of the military regime. The mention of the regime’s interlocutors stirred up conversations among Myanmar netizens since the majority of the public refused to negotiate with the military. The National Unity Government (NUG)’s spokesperson U Nay Phone Latt quickly explained that the NUG did not join any dialogue with the regime’s representative, and they only joined the dialogues with the Special Envoy’s Office to exchange views. On November 25, the NUG’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement clarifying its involvement in said dialogue, and reiterated that it remained committed to eradicate the military dictatorship and prioritize the will of the people, pro-democracy forces and alliances. 

  • China exercised military drills near China-Myanmar border

China announced that it began exercising military drills near the Myanmar border on November 25 according to Xinhua News Agency. Southern Theatre Command of the China’s People’s Liberation Army said that the combat training drill was conducted to prepare the readiness of its forces for unprecedented conflicts, to protect the nation’s sovereignty, and to protect the people. The news did not mention the time period of the training or the numbers of the troop. The news from the Chinese government also said that this was part of an annual routine drill. Since October 27, fighting broke out on the China-Myanmar border as the Three Brotherhood Alliance launched Operation 1027 against the military regime, and China has been warning both sides to resolve the conflict. On November 17, the regime’s spokesperson General Zaw Min Tun also hinted that “foreign countries” have been supporting this military operation. On November 16 and 19, military supporters in Naypyidaw staged protests in front of the Chinese Embassy and called to stop supporting the Northern Alliances. These all led to tension between two countries.

  • China used tear gas to disperse Myanmar civilians who asked to take refuge in their side

As Operation 1027 accelerated, clashes intensified in Laukkai Town of Northern Shan State. On November 26, Khit Thit media released a video in which Myanmar civilians desperately requested Chinese soldiers to let them take refuge on the other side of the fence as the clashes escalated. The video showed that civilians, including babies in baby carrier wraps and elderly people, calmly asked Chinese soldiers for help. However, they threw tear gas to disperse the small crowd. According to Khit Thit’s report, this incident took place on November 25. 

Business Matters

  • Deposit withdrawals surge despite the SAC’s assurance

Amidst public distrust causing widespread withdrawals from private banks and ATM cash shortages, the regime’s spokesperson General Zaw Min Tun assures the safety of bank deposits. However, KBZ Bank users report challenges and private bank employees note increased withdrawals since November 17. General Zaw Min Tun dismisses concerns as rumors, emphasizing state protection for assets. A financial analyst urges government transparency. The Central Bank mandates reporting large withdrawals exceeding 100 million Myanmar Kyats to the Financial Intelligence Unit.

  • Immediate action urged against foreign mining firm violating UK Embargo with the regime

Justice For Myanmar (JFM) demands an inquiry into Cornerstone Resources (Myanmar) Limited, linking an Australian-associated mining firm to Myanmar military dealings, violating UK sanctions. Financial transactions, including zinc sales to the military group (MEC) and coal purchases, totaled 1.33 million Australian dollars. JFM asserts clear evidence of UK sanctions violation, urging penalties on the British Virgin Islands-registered company. JFM advocates redirecting fines towards aiding those affected by the military council, emphasizing the need for Australian and UK sanctions on the mining industry.

  • Conflict Disrupts Myanmar’s Aquatic Exports with Export Route Closure

The ongoing conflict in Myanmar has severely impacted water product exports, with key border trade zones closed since October 27 due to fighting in northern Shan State and Rakhine State. The closure of vital routes, including the Muse (105) mile trade zone to China, has halted almost 100% of aquatic product exports. Perishable items, such as vegetables and seafood, face losses as they are stuck in transit.

Attacks on the Junta’s Lackeys & Assets 

  • Regime’s Deputy Battalion Commander shot dead in Kawkareik, Karen State

On November 23, Major Aye Chan, Deputy Battalion Commander in Kawkareik Town, Kyainseikgyi Township, Karen State, was fatally shot by a sniper while receiving a facial treatment at a beauty parlor. Major Aye Chan, affiliated with Battalion 97 in Phayarthonezu Town near the Thai-Myanmar Border, succumbed to a headshot at approximately 8:45 am. It was not disclosed who carried out the operation.

  • District court in Mandalay halted operation after raid warning

The district court under regime control in Mandalay suspended trial sessions due to a raid warning. A notice letter discovered on the building wall around 11 am on November 24 hinted at a possible imminent raid, prompting the court to halt operations indefinitely. This site has previously been targeted twice with timed bombs in 2021 and 2022. The current instability in Mandalay, following battles in Shan-north, has led to reduced street activity after 7 pm.

  • USDP office targeted in Kyaukse, Mandalay Region

The military’s proxy political party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), faced an attack in Kyaukse Town, Mandalay on November 24. The Kyaukse Revolution Army (KRA) carried out the operation as two rangers on a motorbike threw a grenade into the USDP office building before swiftly leaving the scene. One security force member was reportedly injured in the incident.

Arbitrary Arrests, Killings & Violence

  • Six IDPs murdered by regime soldiers in Mattaya tsp, Mandalay Region

Clashes erupted between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), MDY-PDF, and the regime’s forces in the eastern part of Mattay Township, Mandalay Region from November 13 onwards. Civilians attempted to flee their homes to escape the conflict. Tragically, on November 18, six individuals faced a brutal fate at the hands of the junta’s soldiers. Among the victims were three villagers from Kinn Village and three others from Thayetkine Village. They were apprehended while seeking safety and subsequently killed by the regime’s soldiers stationed near a cement factory in Aung Thapyay Village. The reasons for their arrest and the identities of the victims have yet to be confirmed. Their bodies were found discarded by the roadside.

  • Regime’s airstrike and artillery resulted in three deaths in Namsang, Shan-north

The town of Namgsang in Shan-north has faced severe targeting by the junta, particularly after Operation 1027. Airstrikes and artillery attacks have inflicted casualties among civilians. On November 19, an airstrike on MyoThit Village, west of Namgsang, resulted in two deaths, including a child, and injured seven others. The following day, artillery fire struck Pannin Village, southwest of the town, killing a 14-year-old Lway Mya Thandar Lin, and injuring four civilians. Artillery explosions have become commonplace in Namgsang since the launch of Operation 1027.

  • Dozen of IDPs killed by artillery fire in Laukkai, Shan-north

On the morning of November 22, an artillery strike hit a truck carrying Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Laukkai Town, Shan-north. The IDPs, attempting to flee the intensified clashes, were compelled to turn back due to blocked roads. Unfortunately, the artillery struck the truck, resulting in the loss of all 14 passengers. The identities of the victims remain unknown. Both the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) spokesperson and the junta’s representative have offered conflicting claims about the responsible party—MNDAA accuses the regime’s Regional Operations Commands (ROC), while the junta claims it was an MNDAA rocket. The ongoing clashes have left tens of thousands stranded in Laukkai Town, inaccessible due to the area’s blockade by the regime.

  • Artillery killed mother and son, injured another in Dawei tsp, Tanintharyi Region

The regime’s artillery strike in Kyaukmetaung Village, Dawei Township, Tanintharyi Region, early on November 23 resulted in two fatalities and one severe injury. Responding to a local resistance forces’ counteroffensive targeting the village’s police station, the junta’s artillery struck the victims’ house directly. Daw Mi Pu, aged 40, and her son Kappali, aged 10, were killed instantly, while an 8-year-old girl sustained severe injuries and was hospitalized.

  • Regime’s soldiers ransacked street market after protest in North Dagon tsp, Yangon

The junta’s forces reportedly demolished a street market in North Dagon, Yangon on November 25, where a prominent activist held a guerrilla protest earlier that day. The protest gained attention after circulating online. Around 10:30 pm on the same day, soldiers entered Ward 40 market, stealing and damaging facilities as a form of “retribution.” Witnesses noted at least four military trucks were seen taking property from the shops, and the soldiers ordered the ward not to reopen the market. This action devastated the market, relied upon by hundreds of households, and was carried out overnight.

Armed Resistance

  • Regime’s pilot from crashed plane captured by Karenni resistance forces

The Karenni resistance forces successfully captured Major Khaing Thant Moe on November 19, the first active-duty regime pilot arrested since the coup. After ejecting from a crashed plane a week prior, he was detained by the resistance. Meanwhile, efforts continue to locate his co-pilot, Lieutenant Zarni Maung. The Karenni State Interim Executive Council stated that appropriate legal measures would be taken against Khaing Thant Moe.

  • MNDAA seized the last remaining regime’s military station near Laukkai

The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) declared its capture of the regime’s final military station near Laukkai on November 24. This signifies MNDAA’s control over areas extending from Chinshwehaw to regions within four miles of Laukkai Town, with their next objective being the town itself. The confrontation commenced with MNDAA artillery shelling directed at Saingtareine hill station around 10:30 am, followed by a ground operation at 2:40 pm. By 3:15 pm, the station had been successfully seized. Situated in the Tonchain area adjacent to Laukkai Town, the explosions were reported to have been heard throughout the day by local residents. With this latest development, Operation 1027 has successfully seized a total of 172 regime stations in Shan-north. On November 25, the MNDAA gained control of the Kyinsankyawt border gate in Muse Township, while TNLA achieved a significant breakthrough by capturing the Minekyat Station in Lashio Township after nearly a month of persistent efforts.

  • PDF seized village police station, captured 16 men alive in Wetlet tsp, Sagaing Region

The National Union Government (NUG) announced a successful counteroffensive by local resistance forces, seizing control of the Shwepankone Police Station in Welet Township, Sagaing Region, on November 21. In the clash, three regime soldiers perished, while 16, including the police chief, were captured alive; one ranger also lost their life. The rangers confiscated various arms, ammunition, and grenades, subsequently setting fire to the station. In response, the regime’s air force dropped bombs near the conflict area, yet no further casualties were reported.

  • Chin defense forces took another town under its control

On November 24, reports surfaced that local resistance forces in Chin State reclaimed Lai Lin Pi Town in Matupi Township from the regime, ten days after securing Rikhawdar Town along the India-Myanmar Border. The junta’s station, manned by 50 troops, fell to the coalition of Chin defense forces following a three-day clash, amid the regime’s conduct of at least 15 airstrikes. Notably, the junta’s deputy battalion commander, Soe Win Htike, was killed by a drone grenade during the battle.

Sources: Myanmar Now, Khit Thit, RFA Burmese, Mizzima News, NUG

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